BREAKING NEWS: Academy on GOG! (August 27, 2013)

Whistler

Commodore
All I meant was linking from GOG but not actual download hosting. Figured the least people should do is visit the sites of the original creators. Also, this allows taking download statistics right from the CIC server's own charts, to see for themselves what kind of traffic they generate. I'm all for more advertising, I just feel they should visit the creators' site to download any mod. A simple link on GOG and comment will do.

Of course I don't presume to decide for anyone, just felt credit should go where credit is due.
 

PopsiclePete

Mission programmer
While I am very touched that you guys love Standoff and UE, we've not publicity whores. We didn't make those fan games to be world known popular, nor did we make them for the ignorant mass; we made them for the real Wing Commander fans, those who like you have visited the CIC for years now. Everyone who visits the CIC has heard of Standoff and UE by now, and those who wanted to play it have. And besides, we're fine with Electronic Arts forgetting about us, too :p

Thanks again for the attachment you're showing to our work though. It's always good to be remembered that the fruit of our collaborative efforts is appreciated ! :)
 

Tarquinn

Rear Admiral
Has anybody else noticed that all the "bad", inconsequential Wing Commander games have a subtitle that starts with an "a"? Academy, Armada and Arena...

Weird.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I seriously played more Armada than I played some of the "consequential" Wing Commander games...

Cannot wait for that GOG rerelease!
 

Tarquinn

Rear Admiral
I am not saying that people cannot enjoy "Arecadada", but I am sure that we all agree that the main series is what defined Wing Commander, had the most impact on gaming as a whole and only a very small minority of Wingnuts would trade one of the main 5 (6*) games for one of the "A" games.

*Privateer
 

capi3101

Admiral
I dunno. Armada was a ground-breaking game, believe it or not; one of the first video games ever that could be played over a network with another person. I'd trade up for it any day and I still have a fleeting hope that somebody out there will make a newer, better version of it some day (by which I mean "moar capships").

Academy was fun in its own right, despite it not being a main line title. Gauntlet aside, there was always something satisfying to me about setting up a mission with three nav points, with rocks and ten Drakhri at each nav point, flying through that with a Ferret solo and making it all the way through. You'd never find that in one of the original games (Standoff or Saga, maybe...).

I'll grant you Arena, but that's only because I've never played it; from what I've seen of it, it's like most of today's video games - big on flash, short on plot. And it's not "in the cockpit" like every other title in the series. I'm still not saying I wouldn't trade up for the opportunity to play it at least once...
 

Tarquinn

Rear Admiral
I dunno. Armada was a ground-breaking game, believe it or not; one of the first video games ever that could be played over a network with another person. I'd trade up for it any day and I still have a fleeting hope that somebody out there will make a newer, better version of it some day (by which I mean "moar capships").

Academy was fun in its own right, despite it not being a main line title. Gauntlet aside, there was always something satisfying to me about setting up a mission with three nav points, with rocks and ten Drakhri at each nav point, flying through that with a Ferret solo and making it all the way through. You'd never find that in one of the original games (Standoff or Saga, maybe...).

I'll grant you Arena, but that's only because I've never played it; from what I've seen of it, it's like most of today's video games - big on flash, short on plot. And it's not "in the cockpit" like every other title in the series. I'm still not saying I wouldn't trade up for the opportunity to play it at least once...
Yes.

But would you say that any of those games is more important, had more impact or is simply better than the main titles?
 

capi3101

Admiral
I would say that all the titles are equally important, as each helped to shape some aspect of the overall universe/storyline. Impact...I think you'll find a number of folks around here who feel very strongly about Armada in particular and a few who are the same way about Arena. "Better" is subjective, of course. What I would not say is that Arena, Armada and Academy are "bad" and certainly not "inconsequential".
 

Whistler

Commodore
Armada and Arena are unique in that they were the first Wing Commander games that allowed Wingnuts to play together. My only complaint is with Arena only being a 360 title. Past that they each have their own importance. Each establishing a place in the 'verse.

Armada showed us how the day-to-day war effort was fought; the other regulars who had to scrounge for resources fighting on the frontiers of our galaxy. Arena was a shout after the events of Secret Ops to say, "We're still here!" It's not my prefered game but I won't step on fan toes, even then I still want play it at least once. Academy showed us a sliver of what life in flight school was like. Academy also served as a platform for other Wingnuts to challenge each other and ourselves to see just how far we can push ourselves. The missions you make are shareable. Finally, Privateer showed us life on the civie side of the 'verse. Being a true merc in the Kilrathi War is the other side of the coin featured in every other game.

The main games are simply a chronological showcase of the Hero of the Kilrathi War, with Prophecy being a reboot to the franchise to continue where the Heart of the Tiger takes his final bow. It shows, from inside, just how hard a fight the military has and establishes the pretext of the conflict.

Every game has it's own important chapter in the history of the Terran Confederation. I couldn't do without any of them. No arguments about it just healthy debate. :D
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
I find that very hard to believe, but I am not here to start an argument. Each to his own.

To which I might reply: I find that very hard to believe. :) If you popped in to say you weren't a fan of Academy, then sure, to each his own. But to just drop a "these games are bad" bomb looks passive aggressive. As you said, who could argue that the enormous mega-budget "main story" games aren't incredible? The spinoffs aren't supposed to compete directly with them, so why belabor point?

I'll grant you Arena, but that's only because I've never played it; from what I've seen of it, it's like most of today's video games - big on flash, short on plot. And it's not "in the cockpit" like every other title in the series. I'm still not saying I wouldn't trade up for the opportunity to play it at least once...

Arena isn't any more "big on flash, short on plot" than either Academy or Armada - in fact, it's exactly like those games with the entirety of their plot conveyed through the game manual. Arena actually has the most plot of all the "A-games" in that regard.

Arena is generally played from a top-down perspective, but it does have a first-person mode that's just as "in-the-cockpit" as detailed-cockpit-less games like WC4 or Prophecy (there are four different view modes).

Just like Academy and Armada, Arena was totally groundbreaking for its platform. It was the very first downloadable XBox Live Arcade game that supported 16 players, which is a rarity even to this day. By a wide margin, at 1080p, it was the highest resolution WC game, and it packed all that in under a very low 50-megabyte limit (comparable XBLA games today can be 2 GB!). It has several diverse multiplayer modes from team deathmatch to objective-based games to the "arena-style" Bearpit. The game's capship-vs-capship mode where teams of 8 players square off to defend their capital battlecruiser while attacking the enemy's is just incredible - some of the best Wing Commander memories I have are playing this with 15 other Wingnuts. And it even has some gauntlet-style single player distractions - the asteroids mode is a ton of fun.

Can Arena compete with Wing Commander 4? Of course not, but it's pretty amazing what a dozen old-school WC fans at EA/Gaia managed to cobble together and actually get published. And for just $10!
 

Tarquinn

Rear Admiral
To which I might reply: I find that very hard to believe. :) If you popped in to say you weren't a fan of Academy, then sure, to each his own. But to just drop a "these games are bad" bomb looks passive aggressive. As you said, who could argue that the enormous mega-budget "main story" games aren't incredible? The spinoffs aren't supposed to compete directly with them, so why belabor point?
Yes, that is my only point. Please excuse my poor choice of words and thank you for interpreting them as passive aggressive.

I keep forgetting the overly touchy nature of this community. I'm genuinely sorry about that.
 

Dyret

Super Carrot!
Heh, now that's passive aggressive. :p

The spinoffs are pretty amazing in their own right. Academy is perfect for 20 minutes of Wing Commander action every now and then, Armada's main problem was being too groundbreaking for its time, and technical stuff aside letting you make the big strategic decisions and then having you play as the poor dude carrying them out is an absolutely brilliant mechanic far too few games use. Arena is a fun multiplayer game with incredible amounts of detail put into its lore. I can understand why people prefer the main series, especially when it comes to storytelling, but bad and inconsequential? Really?
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I can understand why people prefer the main series, especially when it comes to storytelling, but bad and inconsequential? Really?

Oh, goodness... yes, really. Get out of your hole in the ground and take a look at the wider world.

I love Armada, I spent countless hours playing it, and I utterly loved the multiplayer, even though it was primarily just one-on-one (what's the bet that most people didn't even know about the Proving Grounds addon until a few years later? The internet wasn't such a huge thing back then...). But, let's be clear on this: where Wing Commander is cited by famous game designers as a watershed moment for games; where WC2's characters used to regularly show up in various "top ten character" features all over the internet; where WC3 drove CD-ROM drive sales by the millions, Armada achieved nothing. It was an extraordinarily fun game, and it didn't feel like a minor spin-off at all, in its own right it seemed very ambitious - but the world didn't care. Is Armada the grandfather of all multiplayer? No, Doom is. Not because Doom was the first multiplayer game (neither was Armada, of course), but because it was the one that really sold people on the concept. Armada sold people on nothing. And bear in mind, Armada sure had potential - I mean, it was a Wing Commander game, with all the recognition that went with that.

And by the way, in retrospect, Armada is certainly very badly flawed. You have the worst AI in the series, terrible game balance, almost nonexistent capship combat, and a disappointingly primitive strategy mode. Come on, just admit it - you open that box, you install the game, and you expect to be commanding a fleet as impressive as the Concordia's, with escort destroyers, with cruisers, with hundreds of fighters onboard your ship from the get-go. What do you get instead? Not much. Yes, the strategy mode is fun in its own right, but I can't imagine anyone who played WC1 and WC2 running this game and not being disappointed in his heart of hearts. Even the moment of triumph was ultimately a slap in the face - instead of a death-defying battle, you and your wingman fighting past the escort and making repeated torpedo runs against the enemy carrier, you ended up with a cutscene. In theory, if the enemy carrier happened to have an escort (it almost never did), you could actually try to torpedo it in battle, but how many people do you know who actually got to do this? Destroying the carrier was almost impossible in combat, and automatic outside of it. There is a lot to love about Armada - its ship designs and graphics being better than WC3, for instance - but overall, I'd definitely struggle to call it a good game. It's too badly flawed for that.

What about Academy? Again, it's a fun game, and once you've completed WC2, Academy provides you with the gauntlet that WC1 had and WC2 failed to include. But as neat as this is, it's not in any way memorable or consequential. Without the mission editor, Academy would be best described as the game that you bought to make WC2 a complete product. Well, what about the mission editor, then? This was a time when mission editors simply did not exist. So, Academy, in theory, could have been the watershed moment for game editors - it could have been the product that spawned a community dedicated to making fascinating new mission packs, just like happened with Doom a bit later, and proving to other game developers that having a mission editor is a must, that it pays off in spades. Why did this not happen? Is it just because this was the early days of the internet? That didn't stop Doom. No, it didn't happen because Academy was far too limited to be anything more than stopgap entertainment. It failed the most basic test: you could not recreate most WC2 missions in Academy. Had Academy been even the least bit consequential, we would have seen mission editing packages provided in subsequent WC games. This never happened, though, and the first real mission editor that spacesim fans got their hands on was for - yep, you guessed it, Freespace.

So, Academy was fun, but ultimately very limited. I wouldn't call it a bad game, because it's objectively quite good at what it does, but I certainly do think that most WC fans consider it inferior and forgettable. The world at large didn't care. If you weren't a WC fan already, why would you want Academy?

The only one of the three games that I won't speak about is Arena, simply because I've never played it (I wish I did, but I do not have a 360 and have no plans to get one). If we look at its sales, however, I think it's pretty clear that yeah - it's inconsequential. We'd all wish it were otherwise, but that's just the way it is.

Again, I stress that I am not trying to say these games aren't fun or good in their own right. All I'm saying is that we need to keep a sense of perspective on things, and acknowledge that while we enjoy these games, they really are ultimately pretty darned inconsequential (and yes, even "bad") as far as non-fans are concerned.
 

Dyret

Super Carrot!
Get out of your hole in the ground and take a look at the wider world..

The wider world of caring about twenty year old video games? Nothing here would be of interest to anyone who isn't already a Wing Commander nerd of some degree.

And by the way, in retrospect, Armada is certainly very badly flawed. You have the worst AI in the series, terrible game balance, almost nonexistent capship combat, and a disappointingly primitive strategy mode. Come on, just admit it - you open that box, you install the game, and you expect to be commanding a fleet as impressive as the Concordia's, with escort destroyers, with cruisers, with hundreds of fighters onboard your ship from the get-go. What do you get instead? Not much. Yes, the strategy mode is fun in its own right, but I can't imagine anyone who played WC1 and WC2 running this game and not being disappointed in his heart of hearts. Even the moment of triumph was ultimately a slap in the face - instead of a death-defying battle, you and your wingman fighting past the escort and making repeated torpedo runs against the enemy carrier, you ended up with a cutscene. In theory, if the enemy carrier happened to have an escort (it almost never did), you could actually try to torpedo it in battle, but how many people do you know who actually got to do this? Destroying the carrier was almost impossible in combat, and automatic outside of it. There is a lot to love about Armada - its ship designs and graphics being better than WC3, for instance - but overall, I'd definitely struggle to call it a good game. It's too badly flawed for that.

Yes, Armada is horribly, horribly flawed, and as you said, an absolute blast to play. If a game is enjoyable in its own right, and not just because you're into the storyline or lore, then it's fit for purpose as far as I'm concerned. Games are entertainment, after all. Yeah, the main games had good storylines and characters, but Armada never wanted any of that. It was a game about cruising around in a giant space carrier dicking over your friends, and it was good at it, and it still would be if they filed off the Wing Commander name, problems notwithstanding.

So, Academy was fun, but ultimately very limited. I wouldn't call it a bad game, because it's objectively quite good at what it does, but I certainly do think that most WC fans consider it inferior and forgettable. The world at large didn't care. If you weren't a WC fan already, why would you want Academy?

Not that it matters in any way, but Academy was my gateway to Wing Commander, and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Flying around in a spaceship blowing stuff up with instrumentation exploding all around you, how could anyone not have fun with that? Besides, being able to fire up Academy and play whatever kind of mission you want, whenever you want is quite the feature. Plenty of people pick up strategy games and first person shooter without ever en touching the story mode, just playing skirmish/deathmatch against friends or the computer, and I don't think that's any less legitimate with a Wing Commander game. Sometimes you just want to get out there in your Ferret and just blow up a bunch of transports and Jalkehis, and Academy delivers.

I agree on all points when it comes to being inconsequential, it's just a really bizarre accusation. WC3 forcing people to get CD-drives is an interesting thing for historians looking back on the industry, it doesn't actually affect the game's quality in any way.

Again, I stress that I am not trying to say these games aren't fun or good in their own right. All I'm saying is that we need to keep a sense of perspective on things, and acknowledge that while we enjoy these games, they really are ultimately pretty darned inconsequential (and yes, even "bad") as far as non-fans are concerned.

Oh, I agree, but again, no one who isn't a Wing Commander nerd would care about any of this, and many gamers these days wouldn't even know or care about the legitimately consequential games. "PC didn't use to have real sound before Wing Commander? Meh/I call bullshit!"
 
Top